France banned burqas in public schools in 2004. Now, a parliamentary commission is investigating a possible ban on burqas in public places and anthropology professor John Bowen was asked to testify on this matter, Student Life and New York Times report.
As far as I know, anthropologists aren’t very visible in public debates in France.
Bowen is the author of the book Why the French don’t like Headscarves.
According to Bowen only a few hundred women in France wear burqas. A ban, though, could potentially have a profound impact on some of those women which means they would dissappear from public spaces and stay at home.
Bowen considers it highly unlikely that a ban would ever pass. “I think that French politicians will find that it would be absurd to create a set of clothing police to decide whether what a woman is wearing on the street counts as a burqa or a niqab…or just a headscarf.”